The Commission on Presidential Debates says it will add more “structure” to prevent a repeat of yesterday’s trainwreck between Donald Trump and Joe Biden.
The planned changes, the details of which have not yet been officially announced, will include cutting off a candidate’s microphone if they break the rules, CBS News reported.
In a statement, the non-profit group said the chaotic first debate between the US President and the Democratic candidate “made clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues”.
“The CPD will be carefully considering the changes that it will adopt and will announce those measures shortly,” it said.
Mr Trump tweeted in response, “Try getting a new Anchor and a smarter Democrat candidate!”
The fiery 90-minute, three-way shouting match between the septuagenarians in Cleveland, Ohio, was described by many commentators as the worst presidential debate in history.
The Republican frequently interrupted and talked over his opponent, who responded by flinging personal insults, telling him to “shut up”, calling him a “clown” and the “worst” leader the US had ever seen.
The President, meanwhile, at one point questioned Mr Biden’s intelligence and repeatedly attacked Mr Biden’s son Hunter over his drug use and alleged dodgy overseas business dealings.
Debate moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News was heavily criticised for failing to keep the pair under control.
The President and his supporters, however, felt the veteran news man was biased towards Mr Biden and at times seemed to be the one debating Mr Trump as the Democratic candidate watched on.
“I guess I’m debating you, not him – that’s OK, I’m not surprised,” Mr Trump said at one point.
The CPD said it was “grateful to Chris Wallace for the professionalism and skill he brought to last night’s debate and intends to ensure that additional tools to maintain order are in place for the remaining debates”.
Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh said in a statement that “they’re only doing this because their guy got pummeled last night”. “President Trump was the dominant force and now Joe Biden is trying to work the refs,” Mr Murtaugh said.
“They shouldn’t be moving the goalposts and changing the rules in the middle of the game.”
The Biden campaign did not immediately respond to the CPD’s announcement.
“I think it was just a national embarrassment,” Mr Biden told reporters on Wednesday. “I just hope the American people and those undecided voters try to determine what each of us has as an answer for their concerns.”
Some Democratic media figures have since called for the next two debates to be called off.